East

A flashback to 1990: A Russian customer at the first McDonald's in Moscow gives a thumbs up, standing alongside George Cohon, the chairman of McDonald's Canada. Photo: Rudi Blaha/Associated Press.

A great idea from Moscow: Russia to open state-funded fast food chain

Someone quickly phone Andy Vajna, aspiring Hungarian oligarch and pro-regime filmmaker. There’s a great idea coming out of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and it is sure to resonate in Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Hungary as well. The Russian government has confirmed that it is pumping $13 million (or 680 million rubles) into launching a national and patriotic fast […]

by · April 12, 2015 · East
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, in Kazan, Tatarstan. Photo: Hungary's MFA.

Hungary’s foreign minister gets gushing reception in Tatarstan

The fact that Hungary’s pro-Moscow foreign policy has managed to alienate key partners like the United States, Germany and regional allies within the Visegrád Group isn’t much of a success story for Budapest. But at least Hungary’s 36 year old Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, got an admittedly warm reception in Tatarstan this week, where he inaugurated the Hungarian […]

by · April 11, 2015 · East
German Chancellor Merkel shares a light moment with Klaus Iohannis (left) President of Romania and Jean-Claude Juncker (middle) President of the European Commission

Romania’s new president ignores Orbán’s nationalist rhetoric

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Johannes Bloos the Deputy Consul General of the German Consulate in San Francisco, California. Mr. Bloos is a Saxon; his parents were part of this German speaking community in Brasov, Romania, before they immigrated to Germany. We talked about another Romanian-Saxon, Romania’s new president – Mr. Klaus Iohannis. His recent election was […]

by · March 23, 2015 · East
Christian Reformed from Hungary hand out three bus loads of food in Ruthenia.  Photo: Ákos Stiller, hvg.hu

Humanitarian crisis looms in Ukraine’s multiethnic Ruthenia

The mayor of the Hungarian-dominated town of Beregszász (Berehove) gave a startling glimpse into what a year of war in Ukraine has meant for the western-most region of the country, which is home to over 150,000 ethnic Hungarians, as well as large numbers of Romanians, Roma and Slovaks, in addition to Ukrainians. Mayor Zoltán Babják remarked that the situation in […]

by · March 3, 2015 · East
Balpárt and Syriza. Two far-left parties.

The radical left on the cusp of power in Greece – The view from Hungary

In Hungary, political philosopher and public thinker Gáspár Miklós Tamás is the only prominent essayist to write quite flatteringly of Alexis Tsipras,  the hard-left firebrand who will likely become Greece’s prime minister-elect this Sunday. On Thursday, Mr. Tamás demonstrated in Budapest, in front of Greece’s embassy, in support of Syriza, otherwise known as the “Coalition of the Radical Left.” “Hungary’s […]

by · January 24, 2015 · East
Photo: Roveliu Buga/AP

Moldova chooses Europe over Moscow in tight parliamentary election

By a razor thin margin, voters in Moldova have chosen to give centrist pro-European parties a majority in the country’s parliament, according to results released by the country’s Electoral Commission. Although the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) came out on top, winning 26 seats in the 101-member legislature, their preferred partner, the Party of Communists of […]

by · December 1, 2014 · East
Remarkable drone footage of a Chernobyl ghost town in Danny Cooke’s film

Remarkable drone footage of a Chernobyl ghost town in Danny Cooke’s film

Pripyat, once a model working class city built for the employees of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, is now the world’s largest ghost town. Crumbling socialist era apartment blocks tower over what remains of a city founded in 1970 and evacuated on April 26th, 1986. The city was once home to 49,000 residents, it boasted  over 13,000 apartment units, 25 shops, […]

by · November 28, 2014 · East
Klaus Johannis. Photo: Facebook.

Romania’s German turn: President-elect Johannis sends a message to Hungary’s Orbán

Romania’s President-elect, Klaus Johannis, might want to send a thank you card to the 3 million Romanian citizens living and working abroad. And also to Transylvania’s Hungarian population. Without them, Prime Minister Victor Ponta would have been able to change political chairs and become the country’s new left-leaning president, replacing Traian Băsescu, who was completing his second and final term […]

by · November 17, 2014 · East
Fighting in the town of Lysychansk.

Russia, Ukraine and mortar fire: The war in East Ukraine

Open hostilities between the Ukrainian central government and the breakaway eastern province resumed in last week, with the heaviest shelling offensive since the crisis began earlier this year. Russia’s role in this conflict continues to exacerbate the ongoing struggle by providing financing and supplies to the pro-Russian separatist groups based in the Donetsk region. The Ukrainian central government continues its […]

by · November 17, 2014 · East
Blue represents counties that supporter Mr. Johannis, while those in red voted for Mr. Ponta. The two Hungarian-majority counties of Székelyföld, or Szeklerland, voted for Mr. Kelemen, of RMDSZ. Illustration produced by Transindex.ro and based on 98% of the votes.

Romanian presidential election: Transylvanian German to take on Ponta in second round

The main Hungarian candidate in the first round of voting in Romania’s presidential election – Hunor Kelemen of the centrist Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) – received only 3.50% of the vote on Sunday, but came out on top in the country’s two Hungarian majority counties, namely: Hargita (Harghita) and Kovászna (Covasna). The right-wing Transylvanian Hungarian People’s Party […]

by · November 4, 2014 · East